Figured Bubinga (back) and figured Snakewood (front)
Wood with a patterned surface is said to be figured. The pattern is called the wood's figure, so figured wood is decorative. The figure is evident when the wood is cut lengthwise. Some wood species are very smooth and appear flat or consistent when cut. Rosewood is a type of figured wood as it usually has a quite interesting pattern.
What causes figuring? Here's some info:
1) Simply the way a log is cut such as rift & quarter sawing can produce beautiful “flake” and “tiger striping”
2) The grain surrounding knots and imperfections in a board such as seen on the Bubinga picture can have some very unusual grain & figure
3) Compression figure is caused by the shear weight of the tree bearing down on its base can cause a beautiful rippled grain on the lower portion of the harvested log
4) Sometimes Mother Nature without cause produces beautiful curly, quilted, birds eye and spalted figure in all types of lumber
Do you work with figured wood? Share a photo of your woodworking project on Hardwoods Inc Facebook page.
Here's a snippet of info on figured wood from Wikipedia: "The figure of a particular piece of wood is, in part, due to its grain and, in part, due to the cut, or to innate properties of the wood. A few of the tropical hardwoods, like the rosewoods, may have quite spectacular figure. Types of figure include... bird's eye, blister, burl, curl, dimple, fiddleback, flame..."
Read the full figured wood article here.
Hardwoods Inc ships figured woods to Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC. Please view our online hardwoods store or call us to place your figured wood order today.
Do you use turning blanks or bowl blanks in your woodworking? We recommend figured woods for these projects. We have a fairly wide selection of figured wood turning blanks to choose from here.